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This weekís question comes from Cassie. She writes:

I have loads of questions for you. Iím only 14 and I started trying to learn about the religion during the summer. I have not been that successful. I need some answers to these questions.

 

  1. Where can I find a store to supply me with the materials I need?
  2. Where can I find a coven to help me learn?
  3. How can I get in touch with my powers more?
  4. How can I convince people that I wonít hurt them? Iím not a Satanist.

These arenít even half of my questions.

 

Well Cassie, these are some good questions. I wonít be able to give you complete answers to everything, simply because I donít know where you live. But letís take things one at a time.

 

Your first question was ďWhere can I find a store to supply me with the materials I need?Ē

 

I think you would be really surprised if you spoke to most of the witches around and asked where they got what they need. Youíd hear about trips to the herbal shops and that sort of thing. Thatís fairly normal. Youíd also hear about Walmart, hardware stores, junk and antique shops and swap meets. Sometimes weíll even find what we need in a yard sale. The think is that not everything has to come from some occult store.

 

So why do these other stores seem to provide what we need so often? Partly itís because we find what we need when we need it.

 

Many new pagans seem to be of the opinion that they canít really practice Wicca without these ďtoolsĒ. The truth is though, that until you know how to use them, you really donít need them. In fact, even if you do know how to use them, when you really are in dire straights, there is a good chance that they might not be handy. Tools help; they enhance ritual, they are marvelous things to help us focus. But they arenít the source of magick, they arenít 100% essential to practicing our faith.

 

So, take your time. Learn. Study. When you need the tools, youíll find them, and youíll know that they are right for you at that time.

 

Your second question was ďWhere can I find a coven to help me learnĒ. Thatís a great question. The first one you find may not be the best. The real task is in finding THE RIGHT coven, rather than just A COVEN.

 

Also, at your age, many covens will not consider taking you on as a student without permission from your parents. If you find one that requires permission, consider that a good sign. It means that they care about the relationship between you and your parents. It also means that they are willing to be held accountable for what they teach you.

 

Where should you look? Take a look at the Witchvox web site. Itís at www.witchvox.com. Youíll find local listings for your area there. Call around. Donít settle for the first coven you see.

 

You should also spend some time getting to know what it is that YOU believe. Wicca is a family of religions, just as is Christianity. Not all believe the same things, and it will help you if you know what it is that you believe.

 

There are also some online resources. www.magickaschool.com is a personal favorite of mine. They have a free one-year course in Wicca that encourages you to think for yourself. They invite you to study many different forms of Wicca.

 

There are lots of books out there that are of varying quality. Personally, I like Christopher Penczak, Janet and Stewart Farrar. Raymond Bucklandís book is certainly not bad. If you can get your hands on a copy of Margot Adlerís ďDrawing Down the MoonĒ thatís a great overview of contemporary paganism. It doesnít teach you how to do magick, but it does teach you about the people who laid the foundation for the neo-pagan movement.

 

Your next question was about getting in touch with your powers. Hereís a little secret. None of us have any abnormal powers whatsoever. Our ďpowerĒ comes from nature. A man named Aleister Crowley once defined magick as ďThe art and science of causing change in accord with oneís willĒ. Simply put, we use the laws of nature to bring into our lives what we most need and desire. You wonít see witches levitating their cars out of a mud hole. Things like that are fantasy.

 

What you will see is that witches in need somehow have their needs met. Christians call it miracles, we call it magick. Itís simply the laws of nature working, when we need them to, in our favor.

 

Everyone has some sort of psychic ability. We improve through practice. Itís not a ďpagan super-powerĒ as was mentioned on an episode of Deoís Shadow. Itís simply becoming more aware of what comes natural to everyone.

 

How do you improve? Journal. If you have a dream, write it down. If it comes to pass, note when and how. Do you find strange coincidences happening? Write them down. Note how things come to pass, whatyour feelings were, where you were, what phase of the moon it might have been.

 

Then, later on, do something that many people who journal donít do. Read your journal. Try to understand the patterns that influence your life. Thatís how you get more in touch.

 

Your last question was about how to convince people that you arenít going to hurt them.

 

If youíre talking about some of the very right-wing sorts who are uncompromisingly very conservative Christians Ö there isnít much a chance of that happening. They typically believe that Wicca and any form of neo-paganism is satanic, whether you worship Satan or not. Such as those, you arenít going to convince.

 

But for the rest of the world Ö be honest, loving and kind, and thatís what people will see. You donít need to announce to the world at every opportunity that you are a witch. You donít have to say it at all. If someone asks what religion you follow, you can tell them if you wish. Or you could simply say that you revere nature, and that thatís where god speaks to you.

 

If youíre telling everyone that youíre a witch, youíll likely find that many people have pre-conceived notions of what a witch is. At 14, itís not your job to try to change the world just yet. Your job is to be the best you that you can be.

 

Working hard in school, being kind to your brothers, sisters and family, helping out in your community Ö these are the elements of character that people will come to know and admire in you. For most of the world, this will be indication enough that you are out to hurt nobody.

 

As pagans, our integrity is directly linked to our ability to work magick. Magic uses the power of intent, of will, of integrity. If we are honest with ourselves and the world, weíll simply be that much more effective. Being a trustworthy person builds character as well as a good relationship with those in our community. Itís all linked.

 

If you have any more questions, please write back.

 

And for those listeners who have questions, please send them to dee@paganfm.com, or leave them on our blog on the web site. Just go to the main page and click the link to the blog.

 

© 2008, Deirdre Hebert